A ROMAN MARBLE FUNERARY PLAQUE
A ROMAN MARBLE FUNERARY PLAQUE
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A ROMAN MARBLE FUNERARY PLAQUE

CIRCA 50-150 A.D.

Details
A ROMAN MARBLE FUNERARY PLAQUE
CIRCA 50-150 A.D.
11 ¾ in. (30 cm.) wide
Provenance
Private collection, UK.
Antiquities, Christie's, London, 12 December 1990, lot 119.
Private collection, New York, acquired from the above.
Property from a New York Private Collection; Antiquities, Sotheby's, New York, 13 June 2002, lot 130.
David Dami collection, Ft Lauderdale, Florida, acquired from the above.
with Artemis Gallery, Colorado.
Victor Gulotta collection, Massachusetts, acquired from the above in 2016.
Special notice

These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.

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Laetitia Delaloye
Laetitia Delaloye

Lot Essay

PUBLISHED:
R. Bertolazzi, 'An Unpublished Opisthographic Funerary Plaque and Some Comments on the Mistakes of One of its Stonecutters', in Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 208, 2018, pp. 298-300.
This plaque would have been used as a cover for a niche in a columbarium or underground burial chamber.
Inscribed on the front with finely carved capital letters "Faustina (set this up) for Restuta and for herself". Both Faustina and Restuta are common names and it is impossible to establish their status or relationship only from this concise inscription. However, the omission of their nomen would indicate that they both belonged to the same gens.
The back of the inscription translates as "To the Spirits of the Dead of Cossutius Severus, Cossutia Thallusa to her well-deserving patron (set up this monument), in which there are two vessels for bones, given as a gift by Tiberius Claudius Epitynchanus". At closer inspection it is possible to see that the stonecutter had to erase some letters to correct a mistake in the inscription. According to Bertolazzi, the initial text could have read "Dis Manib(us) / Cossuti Severi et / Cossutiae Thallusae / uxo(ris)", implying that both Cossutius Severus and Cossutia Thallusa were dead and married. Thallusa, still very much alive as the one who commissioned the inscription, must have asked the engraver for an amendment, also clarifying her relationship with the deceased. Severus, mostly a freeborn name, was in fact the patronus of Thallusa, a slave name of Greek origin, who freed her and took her as her contubernalis, a life partner, not as his uxor.
The two inscriptions differ greatly in writing style and could have been carved decades apart, when Faustina and Restuta's tablet was taken from their columbarium and re-used for Cossutius Severus.

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